In anticipation of Mother’s Day, we thought we would reach out to our Ibex community and ask a simple question: Who would you like to nominate for special Mother’s Day recognition? We got a lot of responses suggesting some super moms out there, but of all the nominations, there was one that truly stood out. Her name is Laurie Strongin, she is a mother, and this is her remarkable story:
Can you tell us where you live and who you are?
I live in Washington, DC. I’m the Founder and CEO of a nonprofit that is reinventing how hospitals care for seriously ill kids and their families through innovative programs that entertain, reduce stress and empower kids to be active participants in their own care. I’m also the mom of two amazing boys: Joe is 15 and Jack is 20.
You have an inspirational and moving story as the founder of a charitable organization named Hope for Henry. Can you tell us a little about it?
In 2002, my seven-year-old son Henry Goldberg died of Fanconi anemia, a rare and fatal disease. The following year, my husband Allen Goldberg and I created the Hope for Henry Foundation. We considered tackling the disease that took our son’s life. Instead we found inspiration in Henry’s upbeat attitude and channeled our energies into promoting the transformative power of a poorly understood phenomenon we had witnessed first-hand – play and fun in the life of all children facing fatal illness.
Since 2003, Hope for Henry has improved the lives of more than 25,000 children at hospitals in Washington, DC, Baltimore, and other cities around the country.
How has your life experience and this amazing foundation changed your view of being a mother?
Being Henry’s mom taught me very early on in parenthood what was a problem and what just didn’t matter at all. It taught me to savor all the small moments in time because I didn’t know how much time I would have with Henry. Importantly, I understood early on the importance of appreciating each of my children for who they are and not trying to mold them into some preconceived notion of who I wanted or expected them to be. I consider being Henry, Jack’s and Joe’s mom the biggest honor of my life.
You also have a son who is an aspiring photographer. How do you support him and his ambitions?
My son Joe is an adventure photographer (www.joegoldberg.com). Because he’s only 15, he needs a travel partner. This is a job that I happily volunteer for whenever and wherever Joe wants to go. We have a similar rhythm. Most days we are up and out by 7 a.m. and drive for hours and hours and don’t get back to our room until 10 p.m. – unless we decide to stay out for some star photography. I’ve always loved to travel but Joe’s talent and passion for outdoor photography allows me to see the world anew. I’ve had the good fortune to travel with him to Costa Rica, Iceland, Banff, and Jackson Hole. We keep a running list of places where we want to go. He’s a fantastic travel partner.
With such a hectic life, how do you find life balance to be a professional and a mom?
I put everything I have into everything I do. I love my sons with everything I’ve got. At the same time, I give my heart and soul to my work because there are really sick kids out there whose lives depend on it. I live, parent and work with boundless passion and love.
To learn more about the wonderful work Laurie and her organization do for children, please visit Hope for Henry.